Joseph on Knowledge in the Biblical Sense

by Darrel Alejandro Holnes

The first time since the pregnancy,
first time we tried touch,
us touching just didn’t feel right.
She isn’t really mine, you know.
So immaculate, belonging alone
to clean. There isn’t much pure about me.
Nor did I ever want to be a motherfucker,
the angel promised more.
I need Mary to be more than a holy
lace veil, a pendant, and grace. Perhaps soon I will come
to know her better, bite the fruit she serves
as prey, as man once did for woman,
teeth into rind, tongue into body,
milk of honeyed promise
running in snake shaped streams down his neck
before this was considered falling,
before feeding was a kind of disgrace.
The second time she revealed the soft
underside of her wrists, a rushing pulse,
and how the point of my fingers rising up her calves
en route to her faith made it quiver, made it sing.
Voices raised on high, an annointing—
Her oil smoothening Adam’s roughness out of my skin,
her waters washing original from our sin.
By morning I had learned, our virginities
somehow still intact, why hers
was worth my worship.


joseph-on-knowledge-in-the-biblical-sense_darrel-alejandro-holnes_lgeDarrel Alejandro Holnes is a poet and playwright. He is the recipient of scholarships to Cave Canem, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, various awards, writing fellowships, and writer’s residencies. He and his work have appeared in the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, TIME Magazine, Callaloo, the Caribbean Writer, on the Best American Poetry blog as one of the Phantastique 5, and elsewhere.

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